Jim Dingley was born in Leeds in 1942. He studied Russian at the University of Cambridge in the early 1960s. He worked as a Research Assistant at the British Library (then part of the British Museum). He was later appointed Lecturer in Russian at the University of Reading. In 1984 he moved to the School of Slavonic and East
European Studies (now part of University College London); he was made Senior Lecturer in Ukrainian Studies in the 1990s. He became Manager of the Language
Unit of the School in 1997, with responsibility for developing the use of computers in language learning. He retired in 2002. His close association with the Belarusian community in the UK began in 1966. In particular he became associated withwith the Francis Skaryna Belarusian Library and Museum in London, without doubt the largest collection of books in Belarusian and collection of books in several languages about Belarus outside Belarus itself. Since retirement he has translated several books of Belarusian history and literature into English, including two for the Scotland Street Press, A Large Czesław Miłosz with a dash of Elvis Presley by Tania Skarynkina, and Alindarka’s Children by Alhierd Bacharevič. Both of these books won the English Pen Award for Translation. Alindarka’s Children was longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness prize.
He is married to Ella, a native Belarusian speaker from Minsk.
Jim was awarded a Francis Skaryna Medal in 1991 and a Belarusian Democratic Republic 100th Jubilee Medal in 2019 for his significant contribution to Belarusian